Jan 24, 2010 6:30am
Are there limits to free speech?
I am a keen user of the Internet Archive and approach it with an eclectic spectrum of interests. If somebody likes to get an overview what items i found and appreciated so far, here is my IA bookmarks page: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/kdmemo
Although being an advocate of free speech, since a while I grow worried about some material I stumble upon on my journeys through the Archive.
So i.e. I encountered videos which originate from the murky waters of Islamic Jihad or Taliban. Okay, I don't understand Arabic, hence I cannot really judge those contents. It's just my impression.
But recently I came across (via the IA RSS feed) a video about and with Horst Mahler. It deals with the imprisonment of a German defense lawyer called Sylvia Stolz and the viewpoint of H. Mahler on this case. Mahler who is a lawyer himself is the husband of S. Stolz.
Who is H. Mahler? During the late sixties and early seventies he was a central figure in Germany's extreme leftwing groups. Particularly was he involved with the infamous Baader-Meinhof Gang, also called Red Army Faction.
As far as I am informed in 1972 he was tried by German courts and send to prison for 14 years for armed robbery and a number of terrorism related crimes.
During his time in prison he seemingly converted from leftwing to extreme rightwing convictions and he is now pretty active to spread his ideas.
He i.e. 'preaches' the revisionist's idea that the Holocaust didn't really happen and promotes all sorts of dubious philosophical nonsense about the 'Community of the German Folk' (Deutsche Volksgemeinschaft). Also he tries to rehabilitate the reputation of Adolf Hitler who seems to be his hero.
Well, Mahler is a lawyer and intellectual who understands pretty well to dress his words in a way that he can't be taken into account even considering the relatively strict German laws in terms of glorification of the Nazi regime.
Nevertheless he propagates very dark Neo-Nazi ideology including heavy Antisemitism.
If somebody wants to find out more just go to Wikipedia and search for Horst Mahler.
Now when one searches the IA for him there are several videos, all produced by him or originating from organizations close to him and running over several hours. All oozing of extreme Neo-Nazi propaganda.
Free speech or not I am not entirely sure whether it is okay to allow a man like him to use the IA as a distribution channel for his dangerous ideas and propaganda. I am under the impression that because of a lack of knowledge of German language nobody working within IA knows actually what sort of demagogy these videos represent. Like me as i can't really judge those Jihad items which I mentioned earlier because I don't understand Arabic.
I am by the way a German myself living in the U.K., born in 1954 and belong to the so called skeptical fifties generation.
Are there any guide lines within the IA to control and if appropriate to block certain contents? Or is Anything Goes the policy of the archive?
I would be glad to hear other IA user's viewpoints on this issue.
This post was modified by kdmemo on 2010-01-24 14:26:16
This post was modified by kdmemo on 2010-01-24 14:30:23